Getting Shoved by Meg Whitman Is So Worth It

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Photo: Michal Czerwonka/Getty Images

As the CEO of eBay, California's Republican candidate for governor, Meg Whitman, took a tiny company that sold a bunch of used crap and turned it into an enormous company that sold a bunch of used crap, and this experience as a businesswoman is the basis of her appeal to the voters of that broke and dysfunctional state. So what was the secret to her success? She literally shoved her employees until they lived up to her standards of preparedness and work ethic. As the Times reports:


According to several current and former eBay employees, the incident with [Young Mi] Kim took place on the morning of June 1, 2007, when Ms. Whitman was preparing for an interview with the news wire Reuters on an online virtual world called Second Life, where people appear as cartoonlike avatars.

Ms. Kim was briefing Ms. Whitman for the interview that morning by writing talking points on the whiteboard in Ms. Whitman’s personal conference room at eBay’s headquarters in San Jose, Calif.

Details of the dispute are somewhat vague, since no one else appears to have witnessed it. But according to employees familiar with the incident, Ms. Whitman became angry with Ms. Kim before the interview, partly because Ms. Whitman felt unprepared for the conversation with Reuters.

Ms. Kim later told at least one colleague that Ms. Whitman used an expletive and shoved her. According to one of the eBay employees knowledgeable about Ms. Whitman’s version of the incident, Ms. Whitman said that she had physically guided Ms. Kim out of the conference room.

Regardless of whether it was a "shove" or mere "physical guidance," Whitman and Kim worked out their problems out of court, to the tune of $200,000, and Kim eventually went back to work at eBay, which seems like a pretty sweet deal overall. While eBay executives claim this is the only incident in which Whitman got physical with an employee, they did tell the Times that she "would often express sharp bursts of anger" at those who displeased her. What does this tell us about how Whitman will govern California? Surprisingly, that she'll be more intimidating than its current governor, a 250-pound Austrian bodybuilder.

Settlement Was Paid in Whitman Shoving Incident [NYT]